It's a telltale sign of fall, as reliable as shorter days and sweaters: delicata squash. Delicata squash is admittedly my favorite above all other squash. Its soft skin and oval shape makes it easier to cut into than its plump pal, butternut. I think we can all admit to almost losing a finger trying to carve one of those open.
I want to keep delicata squash light and, dare I say, summery until the cold forces us to make soups and stews. This dish is the perfect fall salad and has even made an appearance on my Thanksgiving table once before.
2 Delicata squash
1 Handful of arugula (about 4 heaping cups) or massaged kale
1 Handful of dried cranberries/cherries/golden raisins or fresh pomegranate arils
3 to 4 Ounces crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup Pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup Sliced shallot
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Olive oil
1 teaspoon Maple syrup or honey
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut squash into 1/2-inch wide half moons. Toss half moons in olive oil, salt and freshly cracked pepper. Line a baking pan with tin foil and squash. Bake for 30 minutes or until squash is tender and golden brown.
2. While squash is baking roast pumpkin seeds in a pan, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and lightly golden.
3. In a bowl whisk together dijon mustard, olive oil, maple syrup/honey, salt, pepper, and lemon juice/zest.
4. Let squash cool before assembling the salad. Once cool, combine greens, pomegranate arils (or other dried fruit), goat cheese, shallot, and squash in a large serving bowl. Use hands to toss salad together with dressing. Serve immediately.